The Chris and Kevin Truskey Memorial Run has been scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 25, at the Tuscarora State Park. This marks the race's 22nd anniversary event. All proceeds benefit a scholarship fund enabling high school runners to further their educations.
The race was first held in August of 1991 to honor the memory of Chris Truskey, who died as a result of a car accident in September of 1990, only a few months after his high school graduation. Chris, the son of Wayne and Pat Truskey of West Penn Township, was a former high school cross country runner under coach Ray Edwards and ran practices at Tuscarora State Park. Following Chris' death, a family friend, Wendy Dunkelberger of Tamaqua, was approached about starting a memorial race in his name. Dunkelberger worked together with the Truskey family, Drew Benyo of Jim Thorpe, and other volunteers and friends to organize the run. This also led to the creation of the Tamaqua Runners Club (TRC). Serving in the club are officers Dunkelberger, who serves as President; Wayne Truskey, vice-president; Debbie Thompson, treasurer; and Marie Houser, secretary.
What began as a small race has grown over the past 21 years to be a much larger event than organizers initially imagined, with numbers as high as 420 runners. The run is listed on the Runners World website and has drawn runners from other states in addition to local participants.
Sadly, 12 years ago, in 2002, Chris's younger brother Kevin, also a Tamaqua cross country runner, died as a result of a car accident. Kevin was a former Schuylkill League Champion on the Tuscarora Park course. The race then became the Chris and Kevin Truskey Memorial Run. Originally the scholarships were given only to
a Tamaqua senior boy and girl. That year, an additional two scholarships were awarded to seniors outside of the Tamaqua School District. Since then, the
scholarships have increased to eight each year. To date, over $51,000 has been awarded.
Through the years, the race was made possible through the many contributions of local businesses and shirt sponsors, some being sponsors for the entire 22 years. There have also been a large number of volunteers who come together on race day to help with the event. The Truskey's family and friends continue to support the race each year, which has meant a great deal to the Truskeys.
The event includes a 5K run, a 10K run and a 5K walk, with the course traveling through scenic Tuscarora State Park in Barnesville. The challenging course follows trails through the park, as well as some macadam road surfaces. Following the run, free food items (bean soup, hot dogs, barbecue, fresh fruit, home made baked goods, water and soft drinks) are provided to all of the participants. Runners are also eligible for the many door prizes awarded by organizers. "Many runners say they return year after year because of the atmosphere of the run as well as the bean soup," according to Wayne Truskey.
Last year's scholarships were recently awarded to Amber Carroll of Tamaqua, Cecily Kohlmeir of Tamaqua, PD Gantert of the Keystone Track, Doug Wells of Mahanoy Area, Sam Kantner, of Blue Mountain, Paige Mahmod of Mahanoy Area and Kayla Susko of Jim Thorpe.
For more information, or to register, contact the Truskeys at 570-386-2922 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.